BWV 64 Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget

Third Day of Christmas (St. John, Apostle and Evangelist).

Johann Oswald Knauer, Gott-geheiligtes Singen und Spielen des Friedensteinischen Zions (Gotha, 1720); Facs: BJ (1981), p. 19; Bach uses, with substantial alterations, six of Knauer's twelve movements.(1)

1. 1 Jn. 3:1; 2. Martin Luther, final verse of Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #19); 4. Balthasar Kindermann, verse 1 of Was frag ich nach der Welt, 1667 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #218); 6. Johann Franck, verse 5 of Jesu, meine Freude, 1650 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #104). 27 December 1723, Leipzig.

BG 16; NBA I/3.


1. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B)

Mark ye how great a love this is that the Father hath shown us, that we should be called God's children.

2. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

This hath he all for us now done
His great love to show alone.
Rejoice then all Christianity,
Give thanks for this eternally.
Kyrieleis!

3. Recit. (A)

Hence, world! Retain then thy possessions.
I seek and want to gain nought from thee,
Now heav'n is my possession,
In which my soul shall find its true refreshment.
Thy gold, it is mere passing wealth,
Thy riches are but borrowed.
Their owner hath exceeding scant provisions.
I say thus with new strength of heart:

4. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

What need I of this world
And all its idle treasures,
If I may but in thee,
My Jesus, find my pleasure!
Thee have I, only thee,
Envisioned as my joy:
Thou, thou art my delight;
What need I of this world!

5. Aria (S)

What the world
Doth contain
Must as though mere smoke soon vanish.(2)

    But what I from Jesus have
    And that which my soul doth love,
    Bides secures and lasts forever.

6. Recit. (B)

That heaven waits for me is sure,
Which I possess in faith already.
Nor death, nor world, nor error,
In truth, nor all the host of hell
Can rob me, one of God's own children,
Of heaven, now or anytime,
And from my spirit take it.
But this, but this one thing doth cause me yet remorse,
That I still longer here within this world should linger;
For Jesus would a share of heaven grant me,
And it was for this that he chose me,
For this was he as man begotten.

7. Aria (A)

From the world I long for nought,
If I but inherit heaven.

    All, yea, all I offer up,
    For I enough assurance have
    That I'll never know destruction.

8. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Now good night, existence
Which the world hath chosen!
Thou dost please me not.
Now good night, transgression,
Get thee far behind me,
Come no more to light!
Now good night, thou pomp and pride!
Once for all, thou life of trouble,
Thee 'good night' be given!


1. See H. K. Krausse, BJ (1981), pp. 7-22, esp. p. 14.

2. Cf. Ps. 37:20 and passim.


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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